Residents may have as little as two minutes to escape a fire safely. (Deborah Hampton/Special to Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows News)

Residents may have as little as two minutes to escape a fire safely. (Deborah Hampton/Special to Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows News)

COVID curtails Fire Prevention Week activities in Pitt Meadows

Theme this year is Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety

Activities for the annual Fire Prevention Week campaign in Pitt Meadows have been cancelled – once again – due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, even though there is not an open house this year, firefighters still want to get their message about fire safety out to the community

This years theme for the week, from Oct. 3-9, is Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety.

Basically it is bringing awareness to the different sounds a smoke detector, and those with additional carbon monoxide detectors, make, explained Pitt Meadows deputy fire chief Brad Perrie. It is about identifying when it is an alarm or simply needs a battery.

“A lot of people call us and say they’re carbon monoxide alarm is beeping and we get there and find out it’s just low battery or something like that,” said Perrie.

A continued set of three loud beeps means there is smoke or fire indicating the residence should be evacuated immediately before calling 911.

A single chirp every 30 or 60 seconds means that the battery is low and must be changed.

Carbon monoxide detectors will sound four loud beeps in a row to indicate the presence of carbon monoxide in the home. The residence must be evacuated immediately before calling 911.

Again, a single chirp every 30 or 60 seconds means that the battery needs to be replaced.

Smoke alarms must be replaced after 10 years and chirping that continues after a battery is replaced means the unit is at the end of its life span.

Carbon monoxide detectors have end of life sounds that vary by manufacturer, and, chirping that continues after a battery is replaced means that the unit has to be replaced.

Perrie also pointed out that carbon monoxide alarms do not have to be mounted low to the ground.

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“The reason people get that idea is most of the ones you buy plug into a wall socket and wall sockets are always a couple of feet off the ground,” he said.

Carbon monoxide mixes with the air throughout the building, it does not stay low, he noted.

Firefighters also want to remind people to make sure alarms meet the needs of those with sensory or physical disabilities. They recommend installing a bedside alert device that responds to the sound of the smoke or carbon monoxide alarm. There are devices that include strobe lights that flash to alert people when an alarm sounds, or pillow or bed shakers that work with smoke alarms. Using a low frequency alarm, they say, can also wake a sleeping person with mild to severe hearing loss.

READ MORE: Maple Ridge firefighters teaching safety in the kitchen for Fire Prevention Week in 2020

People with disabilities should sleep with their mobility device, glasses, and phone close to the bed. And pathways like hallways should be lit with night lights and be free from clutter.

In the event of a fire, residents may have as little as two minutes to escape safely, so it is recommended that smoke alarms be installed in every bedroom, outside of sleeping areas and on each level of the house. Do not put a smoke alarm in a kitchen or bathroom.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that displaces oxygen in your body and brain and can render a person unconscious before they even realize something is happening to them. Without vital oxygen, a person is at risk of death from carbon monoxide poisoning in a short time.

The National Fire Protection Association is a global nonprofit organization that was established in 1896 and is dedicated to eliminating death, injury, property, and economic loss due to fires, and electrical and related hazards. The organization is behind Fire Prevention Week, the annual campaign that addresses specific fire safety themes.

For more information go to nfpa.org.


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